"Ekahau's new Sierra Leone Page" Top 5 Page for this destination Sierra Leone by Ekahau

Sierra Leone Travel Guide: 78 reviews and 178 photos

From Generation to Generation

I grew up here where my parents worked. Sierra Leone is listed by the UN as the poorest country on earth the life expectancy is 34. Right now in late 2007 it is peaceful -- the civil war ended in 2001 and the country has been at peace since then. The British and UN troops formed the security network and right now in Freetown, one can moves around freely and once again the police are unarmed.

From Generation to Generation


Have you enjoyed the taste of chocolate that is white? It is well weird right? I grew up in a missionary boarding school in West Africa where chocolates of any color were hard -- in fact almost impossible to come by. My very first white chocolate was at the Kingsway store in Freetown right after the mail boat arrived from England. If you'd asked me at seven years old to describe chocolate, I'd have given you a drooling answer that it was very tasty, brown and the bar had Quaker grandmother last name Cadbury. At That Kingsway store so long ago when I was first introduced to white chocolate, I was to say the least, a little skeptical but it still had my grandmother name on it so I tried it. You see my brain had not yet developed to think of white as chocolate yet but after all it was also tasty just white and tasty. And, After all it was ...well, chocolate.

As I got older, I learned more lessons about color differences. Growing up in a missionary society, I wondered what made me so different from the black kids that lived off of the “Hill” “below my School”. It seemed that very few of us kids ever played with black kids. One day we were advised that the prime ministers son a black kid would be attending our school would in fact be my roommate. But, you see, I had already learned the lesson that chocolate was chocolate no matter what shade it came in, and it didn't take me long to understand that Milton was my friend a friend I grew to love. I still remember the pain I felt when my friend Milton was not excepted at first in fact he never had many friends that year and moved on to another school the following year. Didn't people understand that we were all the same? Don’t they know that I can have a very best friend that is Black? Can’t they see that the pain is the same losing a best friend to an eight year old be he black or white. Hadn't all of us ever tasted chocolate in White, Brown and even dark brown? Could I have been a better friend --could I have helped Milton become integrated into an all white box of chocolates on that remote hill in Africa?

After medical school and at the age of 29, I married a woman with skin the color of the chocolate bars that I used to dream would arrive on that next mailboat to Sierra Leone. The combination of wonderful dark skin and my white produced a son whose complexion reminds me of the light brown marbled chocolate my older brother Wayne and I ate at Kingsway so many years ago.

We moved to South Africa some years latter in my career as a physician in the US Diplomatic Service with our three and seven year old boys for almost five years. I was surprised to see our identity cards were all listed as “honorary white diplomatic” as mixed race marriage was still illegal.

At about four years old, my youngest child was very curious about the differences in skin shade. I had tried to explain it to him technically, medically, but to his Montessori’s mind was all a lot of well nonsense. Then it downed on me. I went straight to Woolworth's grocery store and went to the candy counter picking out a bar of chocolate in White and Brown (of course it still had to have my grandmothers name on it) First, he tried the White bar than the brown than he simple said more dad. Somehow, I think he got it—

But you know what my kids are now adults and what was an issue to my generation does not even seem the have surfaced in his in at least the same way and all I can say is thank god.

Welcome and Remember

KOHTIN-TRI FOHDOHN SOTE, IN HED PAS GRAS.
No matter how low a cotton tree falls, it's still taller than grass.

SINGG DOHN, WOHD LEHF.
The song is done, the words remain.

Message to my Best Friend Keep up Hope Dear Friend

Na Mista Spaida, in ehn Bra Ehlifant kam sidohn. We dehn de, Bra Spaida, i se, in yon, i smohl nohmoh, boht i geht sehns pas ehlifant. Ehlifant se OO, i se wehl mi now, i se a noh geht sehns-o, i se, boht mi trehnk kin ebul gi mi wetin a de it. Wans ohf tehm, dehn kam kohmoht, dehn go mek patrohl, dehn go ehn strol. So we dehn go te-e, na-in Mista Spaida go mit usai banana de. Boht Bra Ehlifant now, i noh ebul si di banana. I pas. Bra Spaida we i kam, i pas biehn di banana, i sidohn, i dohn it di banana fip! I dohn behlehful. Dehn waka, dehn waka, dehn go te-e, we dehn dohn go, di banana we i de it, Bra Spaida in yon, we i bin dohn behlehful, i dohn dohn na in behleh. Bra Ehlifant go mit wan big-big fam-os. Insehf, i johs tinap fain nohmoh, i sehn dat in moht de. I dohn klia ohlting we de insai: pohpoh now, wit di rehs-o, ohlting we de de, i dohn it am fip. I (Spaida) wan leh Bra Ehlifant gi am smohl. Dat kohni de, na-in i ple, i noh no foh se dat man de, i noh pul in moht behteh yet na di os. I go insai de. We i go insai nohmoh, di bra insehf, i droh am fip. I droh am wit in moht, i swala-ram ohl. Bra ehlifant dohn fehn dat spaida te, foh go blohf tu-ram, i se bra, misehf, we yu bin dohn it tide di banana, yu noh gi mi, mi now, a dohn it, a dohn behlehful. I noh si am egen. Bihol, i de insai in behleh. I waka, i waka, i waka, i waka, i waka, i waka, i de go ehn fehn Bra Spaida, i noh ebul si am. Pas now de tehm we i kaka, i tohn biehn am, na-ya i si am, na-ya i laf am, i (Spaida) se OO bra, yu bin se yu geht trehnk, boht now yu dohn it mi, a dohn si wetin de na yu behleh. Na-in mek te tide Bra Spaida in ehn ehlifant dehn noh de gri.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wonderful People wonderful Beaches
  • Cons:acute lead poisoning
  • In a nutshell:Land of Diamands and civil war
  • Intro Updated Nov 12, 2009
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Reviews (28)

Comments (42)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    Thanks for your life story... Interesting reading....

  • nichole_521's Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2007 at 7:44 PM

    Beautiful page.

  • Sep 28, 2007 at 8:01 AM

    To be honest with you…I didn’t read a single word you wrote. I bet your pictures have that affect on many people. Not only are your pictures of the utmost quality, they are also so captivating. There are so many personal stories lurking in your images.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2007 at 8:30 AM

    Fascinating - but way too sad. If you don't die of lead poisoning you die of malaria and there is no light so you can do your homework.

  • Apr 12, 2007 at 4:32 PM

    In reference to the chocolate from Kingsway stores in Freetown. My father was the manager at Kingsway in Freetown from 1965 - 1968.

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2006 at 9:35 PM

    SL sounds mighty familiar. When a country goes into strive, it is such a shame. The best leaves the country and the rest suffers. Hope Sierra Leone will come back. Come to think of Sri Lanka sounds familiar too.

  • Nov 21, 2006 at 6:20 PM

    Racial prejudice is something I always have found difficult to understand. I love the chocolate story and will use it with my kids!

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2006 at 1:37 AM

    This page and associated travelogues are a very good history on a country with a sad recent past. Also I'm glad to read of hopes for the future.

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2006 at 10:13 PM

    Great chocolate story!

  • thedouglas's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2006 at 10:02 PM

    Wow! Really enjoyed your info and pics!

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Ekahau

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